Sunday, August 17, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: William Conrad

William Conrad (1920-1994)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky. William Conrad (born William Cann) began acting in his mid-twenties, but in the olden days before television, he provided the voice of Marshall Dillon when Gunsmoke was still a radio show. He did a lot of what is now called "voice acting," such as the announcer for The Bullwinkle Show, the voice of the Lone Ranger in the 1980 cartoon The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour, and the narrator for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I remember him best as private detective Frank Cannon (I loved his long-range shots with that .38 snubby). People who are slightly younger than I might remember him better as the Fatman from Jake and the Fatman. Many of his roles were that of portraying a detective or lawman, but he sometimes also played the role of villain. He also reprised his role of Frank Cannon in a couple of episodes of another of my favorite old detective shows, Barnaby Jones.

He was active in show business for almost his entire life, his last television appearance being in 1993 on an episode of Bill Nye, the Science Guy. He was posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997.

Mr. Conrad was said to have had a large collection of Charatan pipes. The type of pipe he is smoking in this picture is usually called a "chimney" or "stovepipe" due to its tall bowl design.

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